Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Lord Vader...go to sleep.

At about 8pm Friday night, Pink and I were on opposite ends of the couch. By 9pm we wanted to snuggle together because we knew I'd be leaving at 9:30pm to head towards my sleep study at Total Sleep Diagnostics. I'd gone to the doc 2 weeks before for some phlegm I couldn't get rid of and mentioned my 10,000 decibel snoring, so he ordered up a reference for a sleep study.

So come 9:30, I headed down the street for my 10pm appointment. Packed a change of clothes and Hobbit and headed off.

I was about 15 minutes early, but Amy greeted me bright and peppy for 10pm. Once she explained she got up from her sleep two hours ago, I knew her day was just starting. She showed me to my "room" with all the sensors she was going to hook up to me after a while, but got me started on some paperwork. She fired up the satillite TV and I made myself a home. The room was a little smaller than a dorm room, but fully furnished with a full size bed, chair, and a wall full of sleep monitoring equipment. It didn't look too bad.

She came back as I was finishing up the paperwork and half enjoyed 'A Knight's Tale' when she came back. She told me to go ahead and close the room door to change and be prepped to watch a half corney video about sleep disorders. I joked that we used to use the same video from the 70s in the dorms about respecting others, complete with leisure suits. She had another gentlemen she was going to be monitoring overnight so he had a 30 minute head start on me.

I slipped into my sweatpants and t-shirt, read a couple pages in the Hobbit, and she came back with the video. She put it in while she was normalizing the other guys sensors, and she was right, there was no leisure suits, but there wasn't color monitors in the video either. :)

When she came back, she slowly started to add a multitude of sensors on my body. At this point we gabbed about how she was going to LA for the Price Is Right in the summer, how Pink and I met online, and how we both goof off on Pogo to relax. In all this, she was adding sensors to my:
  • Feet - two on each, one to measure temp, another to measure if I kick in my sleep
  • Tummy - a strap that went around my gut to see how much moving around I did in my sleep
  • Chest - another strap that measured how often my chest moved up and down
  • Head - about 5 or six sensors to measure REM sleep, brain activity, different sleep states, if I was grinding my teeth, and how loud I really was snoring. She attached these with a lot of goop in my hair. I had to take a shower with dish washing soap to make sure it all came out.
  • Chest - heart rate.
  • Finger - blood pressure
This took about 30 minutes to get everything hooked up and ready, plus the one time she went to check on her other patient. The longest was the head sensors because she had to measure and draw on my head to make sure the sensors would be in the right spot. At this point I was starting to get really tired and I was ready to try and get this show on the road.

She grabbed all the wires and helped me climb in bed without pulling all the wires out. Once I got cozy (and again I couldn't believe that Pink and I shared a full size bed when we were living together in Independence, MO), she told me that she was going to have me do some quick activities to normalize the sensors and make sure they were working.

After that, it was time to crash. She told me to do my best to sleep on my back to get the best results, but if I rolled all over the place then that would be fine.

This is where I was getting ticked off, but not at the study or my nurse, but at how little sleep I felt like I got. Pink always has me sleep on my side, and on the rare chance I do roll over on my back, she's quick to rub my arm and ask me to roll over to go to sleep. Considering how long I was there, Amy let me fight for the little sleep I got for about 2-3 hours. I was wore out because each time I fell asleep, the back of my throat relaxed, blocked my airway, and I woke up. Either full blown woke up or mini-wake ups where I'm not not even conscious, in either case, I was pissed.

Amy came in and said she was going to hook up to the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. Essentially, it's a mask that goes over my nose and straps around my head to make sure it stays on when I sleep. Through adjustments Amy would make at her station outside of the room, she'd adjust the air pressure so that it would keep my throat from relaxing while I sleep. It literally sounded like Darth Vader's breathing because the machine compensates for the air I breathed in and out through my nose. It was kinda funny too because I could open my mouth and feel the air get pushed out without having to blow it out with my lungs.

I had her adjust the mask so it didn't mash my upper lip, chuckled at the sound of the machine, and she had me stay on my back while I tried to go back to sleep. Despite her telling me that it's just air and not oxygen, I didn't have to take deep breaths. So, it took me about 30 minutes I'm guessing to get used to the machine before I fell asleep.

She came and woke me up and asked how I felt as she started to unhook the mask. I told I feel groggy, but that's because I wanted more sleep. She laughed. According to what she saw on my chart, and the recommended 2 hours of sleep while on the CPAP for the study, she knew I was sleeping good. I asked, "I was really just asleep for two hours on that machine?"

"Yup, the best way to test is to have 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep with the CPAP."

"Damn...It felt like I was sleeping for 5 hours at least. Best sleep I have had in months."

I filled out an exit survey, she gave me a granola bar and Sunny Delight (which Pink go the SD later that day) and I was out the door. I told Pink I'd call her when I was on my way back home, but it was just before 6am and I knew they wouldn't be up yet. So I headed home, grabbed the dish soap on my way upstairs and kissed Pink awake.

So, Pink and I are going to look into getting a CPAP machine that I'll wear when I go to sleep. Lord Vader machine is a little loud, so I told Pink she could bring up her Ipod and she can pick a playlist of her choosing to go to sleep to.

We're still waiting to hear back from my doc and go in for a consult, so we're already planning on using the machine.

No doubt Pink and I can adjust pretty well to it, but it might take a little bit for Little Blue to realize Daddy is wearing a silly mask to help him go to sleep.


Kelly Sime said...

wow. i forgot to ask you all about this at lunch. sounds like you're going to be a new person soon.

Anonymous said...

Ah, This is exactly what I was looking for! Puts to bed
a few contradictions I've seen